Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Forgiveness–The Christian Difference and the Proper Office of the Holy Ministry

If one asks what the one characteristic feature of the Christian faith is, distinguishing it from all religions in the world, then we would have to say: It is the forgiveness of sins. The pious Jew and even a pious Mohammedan may hope for God’s pardon. Forgiveness as a real gift, the full assurance of forgiveness, that is the gift of the Gospel.

To proclaim the Gospel of forgiveness, to declare to repentant sinners the forgiveness of their sins, to distribute the Sacraments with all the gifts of divine grace contained in them, this and nothing else, is the proper task o the minister of Christ as it was the officum proprium [ proper office] of Christ Himself. This the Church had to learn in the great crisis of the second century…. The church administration in Europe follows the patterns of the administration of the state, while in America the great business organizations seem to be unknowingly imitated by the churches. The consequence is that also the parish minister becomes more an more of an administrator and organizer who rushes from meeting to meeting and has not enough time for his proper calling as a shepherd.

Hermann Sasse – From Treasury of Daily Prayer pp899-900.

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